AUSTIN (KXAN) — The Texas Longhorns will be dealing with a lot of emotion when they open the season against Louisiana on Saturday afternoon.
A full Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium for the first time in nearly two years, a top 25 opponent and the debut of a new head coach and quarterback, the anticipation surrounding this game for the team and the fans is nearing a fever pitch.
Head coach Steve Sarkisian welcomes emotion, but his team can’t be emotional — there’s a difference.
“That’s probably going to be the biggest challenge I think for everybody. There’s going to be a lot of emotions. One of the key challenges for us, as a team, is you got to embrace those emotions as part of college football. That’s what makes our sport so great. But we got to fight the urge to play emotional because I think when you play emotional….that’s when poor decision-making comes into play,” Sarkisian said.
Hudson Card’s true QB debut
Controlling emotions starts at the most important position. Second-year freshman Hudson Card is not only making his first college start Saturday at quarterback, he’ll be throwing his first college passes of any consequence. Card threw just three passes at Texas in two games during his 2020 freshman season.
Sarkisian is confident that a veteran group of offensive linemen around Card will help calm his nerves.
The Lake Travis High School graduate is continuing the trend of local products leading the Longhorns. Card started his Lake Travis career as a wide receiver before moving to quarterback before the 2018 season. Card committed to Texas in May 2018 — right before former Westlake quarterback Sam Ehlinger cemented his role as the Longhorns’ starting QB.
Lake Travis head coach Hank Carter knows the Cavaliers will be buzzing for Card’s debut.
“It’s really cool for us. A hometown boy to be taking over there. I’m fired up for Hudson. I know he’s been competing. I know there will be a lot of folks tuning in on Saturday,” Carter said about his former quarterback.
What to know about Louisiana
Card will face a Louisiana defense that recorded 16 interceptions last season. Louisiana’s 2020 season started in a similar spot — on the road against a ranked Big 12 opponent. The Ragin’ Cajuns knocked off Iowa State 31-14 in Ames, sparking a special 10-1 season record.
On offense, Louisiana quarterback Levi Lewis is back for his third season. He has a 22-6 record as a starter. Lewis passed for 2,274 yards and 19 touchdowns last season and is second in school history with 6,286 career passing yards.
The Texas defense will be a veteran group, but will feature a number of first-year starters. LSU graduate transfer Ray Thornton will start at defense end with Notre Dame grad transfer Ovie Oghoufo starting at linebacker. At middle linebacker, Luke Brockermeyer has gone from walk-on to scholarship player to starter. In the secondary, Brendan Schooler will get the start at safety after making the move from wide receiver.
The Longhorns will try to avoid another poor start to a Texas head coaching debut. In Tom Herman’s first game as Longhorns head coach in 2017, Maryland came to Austin as a heavy underdog and went home with a 51-41 win.
Water and sunscreen are a must for everyone heading to Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium Saturday. KXAN’s First Warning Weather team expects to be temperatures around 100 degrees for the 3:30 p.m. kickoff.
Here’s the weekend forecast.
Where to watch Louisiana vs. Texas
When: Saturday at 3:30 p.m.
Where: Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium (Austin, Texas)
TV: FOX (national broadcast)
Radio: Longhorn IMG Radio Network | 104.9 FM and 99.3 FM in Austin